The State culminated this Thursday the second exhumation of Francisco Franco. If a year ago his corpse was in the Valley of the Fallen, this time it has been his summer residence, the symbolic Pazo de Meirás, which has already passed into public hands, in provisional execution of the September 2 sentence issued by the Court of First Instance No. 1 of La Coruña. Its editor, Judge Marta Canales, was in charge of handing over the keys to the property to the State Attorney General, Consuelo Castro, who traveled to Meirás to star in an act at which Only one guest actor was missing: the Franco family, which was one day ahead of the deadline set by the court and handed over the keys on Wednesday at noon. All, broadcast on television in the rain and with the suspense of an inventory check in case the dictator’s grandchildren had broken the court order not to move any of the goods stored in Meirás. After acquiring possession, Consuelo Castro put lyrics to the song: “It is a day that leaves a feeling of historical justice”.
The day has followed a particular choreography. At eleven o’clock in the morning, the judicial procession that on November 11 made a first visit to the farm to find out the status of the movable property that was stored there, arrived together with the Xunta technicians who carried out the inventory. For about three hours Meirás toured room by room, corner by corner, listing in hand, to prove that the assets identified were still where they were photographed and filmed that day 11. And around two in the afternoon, in the library on the second floor of the Torre de la Chimera, the keys were handed over . On the one hand, Judge Canales; on the other, the State Attorney General. Outside the Pazo, stoically holding out in the rain, two dozen journalists and some thirty BNG supporters carrying protest signs – “Francoism Never Again”, “Let them return what was stolen” – and cheering lukewarm slogans coinciding with direct television broadcasts.
Completed the formality – which the procedural regulations do not require in any way that it be held in the property whose possession is transferred and that, in the vast majority of cases, is materialized at the judicial headquarters – Consuelo Castro was accompanied at the feet of the staircase of the lobby of the State attorneys in Galicia who prepared, presented and defended the claim of the Pazo in public hands in the courts – Javier Suárez and Adela Álvarez -, as well as the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, María del Pilar Paneque , to pose before journalists with the key to the Pazo. Smiling, Castro has acknowledged perceiving this day as “a historic day” due to “the symbolic and visual value of handing over the keys to the Pazo de Meirás to the General State Administration as representative of all Spaniards”, despite the fact that it is “a provisional execution.”
«There is the happy coincidence that today we celebrate the International Day of Human Rights », he added, “the significance that this act has in terms of democratic memory fits in a very special way with the scope of this day”, although he has admitted, on a personal basis, his preference because the figure of Emilia Pardo Bazán prevails in Meirás », Although “The presence of 40 years of dictatorial rule is evident, which is particularly significant here”. From above, as a silent witness, the bust of Franco that presides over the stairs; in front of her, the portrait of Zuloaga of the dictator in requeté clothing; everywhere, the family hunting trophies.
The chapter on the transfer of possession is not completely closed, since the Lawyers will now have to agree with the Franco family what strictly personal belongings have been left in Meirás but they can be removed without affecting the consideration of a protected historical site such as BIC or the future uses that you want to give the property. Consuelo Castro herself recognized it. “There are objects that are clearly personal belongings, objects that are not State Heritage”, and for which Judge Canales “has given a period of 20 days so that, in agreement between the parties, they can withdraw.” In addition, the so-called “Casa de las Conchas”, property of the Franco family, is outside the provisional execution of the sentence, as it is located outside the walled enclosure of Meirás, as explained.
“It is a return of an asset into the hands of which it should never have left, which is the State,” he added, «This was an official residence of the dictator Francisco Franco, and it is justice that it returns to the hands of the State, everyone knowing the way in which the funds for the acquisition were obtained. From now on, Meirás will be incardinated within the State Heritage, dependent on the Ministry of Finance. “We are negotiating with other Public Administrations the use that will be given to the Pazo in that time of provisionality”, Castro has limited himself to pointing out. That is one of the open fronts, since the Xunta demands the management and proposes to focus on the figure of Pardo Bazán the Meirás of the future, with some space for historical memory, while the Government is more prone to an investment of priorities, focusing more on the figure of Franco and its consequences, with some reminiscence for the literate.
This Thursday, the State Attorney General gave the impression of being more in tune with the position of the Galician government. “I am sorry that the dictator’s passage made the vast majority of people forget that this was the house of Emilia Pardo Bazán,” he said to questions from journalists, “one of the very productive things of this judicial procedure is that has once again brought to light what this Pazo meant in the cultural life of its time ». «We cannot forget that passage of the dictatorship, because the peoples cannot lose their memory, but it is essential to restore the memory »of Pardo Bazán, has added. After 82 years in the hands of Franco and his heirs, the State finally took over the Pazo de Meirás.